George Santos’ new autobiography, To Hell and Back, beautiful meditation on combat
Congressman survived expulsion, many imaginary combat tours
Warfighter. Skullcrusher. Real Man.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Having survived potential expulsion from Congress, Congressman George Santos suddenly finds himself perfectly placed to release an audacious literary masterpiece called To Hell and Back.
Santos’ latest autobiography is a story of survival that defies both reality and the art of embellishment. The book's title takes on a layered significance, mirroring Santos’s own journey from the heights of victory to the depths of scrutiny. The revelations prompted within the pages of his latest tome leave readers to navigate the fog of uncertainty as they embark on the narrative journey of To Hell and Back.
Santos invites readers to traverse a riveting landscape where the distinction between combat hero and politician is blurred, telling the story of a boy born in 1925 who grew up as a young African-American in the Bronx, destined for greatness. But Santos knew only poverty in the African-American-Jewish-Catholic-Baptist streets of downtown Los Angeles, attempting to enlist several times before being allowed to serve as the first pilot in the newly stood-up Space Force.
Prior to that, he achieved the distinction of being awarded three consecutive Ph.D.s from the almost-founded University of Central Florida in Cuba, earning the respect of the Republican Party, though he was not quite ready to serve in his destined political capacity.
As the autobiographical spotlight illuminates Santos, it is impossible not to consider the very concept of duality, as he has become known for his remarkable journey from the heights of acclaim to the depths of skepticism, adding his own brand of intrigue to the narrative—a narrative that can only be described as a "Möbius strip" of truth and bullshit.
Much like Audie Murphy's celebrated wartime memoir of the same name, the title To Hell and Back resonates with epic undertones. Santos’ superpowers similar to those of Wolverine from Marvel Comics allowed him to fight in the Second World War, The Korean War, not Vietnam (because he disagreed with it), and Panama. Combat, where courage and chaos collide, is a realm that demands truth and integrity. It's a realm where the actions of individuals bear monumental consequences, and where the veracity of one's claims holds a weight that cannot be ignored. Santos, a man who unabashedly revels in the dichotomy of myth and reality, weaves a narrative tapestry that challenges readers to separate the wheat from the chaff, the battlefield from the bazaar.
The audacious subtext of Santos' tale, where valor and variance coexist, serves as an enigmatic reminder that war narratives are often as much a reflection of the storyteller as they are of the subject matter. In the spirit of Audie Murphy's own literary legacy, Santos constructs a narrative that stretches the boundaries of traditional storytelling, inviting readers to wonder why reality even matters when we can simply lie about everything to earn seats in Congress. As Santos put it in Chapter 9, “YOLO!”
One does not leave the experience of this book unscarred. Perhaps the most touching moment in the memoir was when Santos, who claimed in an earlier chapter that he did not participate in Vietnam, sat with his best friend, Bubba, in his arms as Bubba lay dying after they had spoken at length about shrimping vessels. In such moments, To Hell and Back offers a unique window into the complexities of human nature and the shades of gray that exist in the realm of memory. Similar to most biographies written by, as an example, every Navy SEAL, what is actually real sort of doesn’t matter.
As To Hell and Back takes its place within the pantheon of wartime literature, it leaves us with a reminder that even amid controversy, the power of storytelling remains a potent force – one that can shine a light on both the valiant and the vexing. Though the chapter on Space Marines and drop ships invading the other side of Mars obviously happened, as readers delve into the chronicles of combat within To Hell and Back, they are left pondering whether Santos' portrayal of warfare is a reflection of the truth, or the most obvious fucking lie ever.